inners of the middle and secondary school essay competition on the legacy of the great medieval scientist and philosopher Abu Nasr Al-Farabi were announced last week at a ceremony in Johannesburg.
Fatima Karimova (Tajikistan/South Africa)came first in the essay competition.
There were two second-place winners – Nabeel Ayob (South Africa, Tshwane), and Asiphe Magayiyana (South Africa, Eastern Cape).
Third place was awarded to two winners – Zakiyyah Thokan (South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal) and Tazkia Ismail (South Africa, Tshwane).
All the winners were given commemorative medals of Al-Farabi and other valuable prizes.
Kazakhstan ambassador to South Africa H.E. Kanat Tumysh, who hosted the event, said the essay award ceremony came in the same month as other important events in his country.
Kazakhstan celebrated the “Day of the Leader of our Nation”, First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, on 1 December, and next week the country commemorates its Independence Day on Wednesday, 16 December.
At least 30 schools from around South Africa took part in the essay competition as part of the celebrations of Al-Farabi’s jubilee.
The Kazakhstani diplomat briefed the participants on bilateral relations with South Africa, as well as major achievements of his country’s foreign and domestic policies.
Ambassador Tumysh highlighted landmark international initiatives, which he credited to the Kazakh leadership.
In that regard, he made references to the state of the nation address delivered by Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on 1 September 2020.
Ambassador Tumysh also revealed that Kazakhstan parliamentary elections will be held on 10 January 2021. He said this will be the first parliamentary polls since the transit of power in 2019 from the first to the second head of state.
The ambassador said the multi-talented Al-Farabi (870 AD – 950 AD) wrote that society binds together with love, lives with justice, and survives with honest work.
Al-Farabi is most memorable today for his rich legacy as a scientist, philosopher, educator, jurist, cosmologist, music scholar, translator, political theorist, mathematician, chemist, historian, psychologist, metaphysician, ethician, logician, and in many other capacities.
Al-Farabi was the author of at least 150 scientific works and other masterpieces.
Last year, the 40th UNESCO general conference endorsed the worldwide celebration of Al-Farabi’s birth anniversary.
Through its General Resolution 68 of 25 November 2019, the executive board of UNESCO included the jubilee celebrations of Al-Farabi on its calendar of events for 2020 and requested all UN member states to support it.
Under the aegis of UNESCO, the 1,150th birth anniversary of Al-Farabi was celebrated widely all over the globe in June earlier this year.
Festivities were also held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.
As part of the Jubilee celebrations, the embassy of Kazakhstan in South Africa and its partners organised a nation-wide essay competition themed on the legacy of Al-Farabi for middle and high school pupils.
The essay was to include subtopics on connectivity and interlinkages between the humanistic ideas and oeuvre of Al-Farabi and those of former SA president Nelson Mandela.
Other subtopics for the essay were a brief introduction to Kazakhstan’s history and modern reality, highlights of the recent state of the nation address by the president of Kazakhstan, as well as contributions of central and southern Asia as valuable centres of civilisation.
To organise the essay competition, the Kazakhstan embassy partnered with the South Africa International Foundation; Johannesburg Yunus Emre Institute, Turkish Cultural Centre (South Africa), Thembekile Mandela Foundation, Al Ghazali College Tshwane (South Africa), International Knowledge Foundation (South Africa), and the Diplomatic Informer Magazine (South Africa).
Ambassador Tumysh used the occasion of the essay awards to launch Al-Farabi’s book “The Perfect State”.
Considered Al-Farabi’s major work of political science and religion, the book is available in four languages – Arabic, English, Kazakh, and Russian.
Drawing parallels with the wisdom of Al-Farabi, ambassador Tumysh said a treatise was published within the framework of the initiative of H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Leader of the Nation (Elbasy) to modernise Kazakhstani public consciousness.
Commenting on the book Ndileka Mandela said: “Al-Farabi’s oeuvre made a huge impression on me, especially in terms of the qualities and skills, required for the head of an excellent state, illustrated in this book by the medieval philosopher”.
The grandchild of President Nelson Mandela, who is the founder and CEO of the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, added: “We also see the important parallels between humanistic ideas and the legacy of Abu Nasr Al-Farabi and Madiba.”
Guests to the essay award ceremony included Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes.
Mahomed Essop, ANC Councilor of Ward 61 in Tshwane; Liaison of the Abu Bakr Siddique Mosque; and representatives of the SA business also attended the essay awards ceremony.
Sheikh Abdul Kader Kurtha was the program director of the event.